First Prize

Toxic City: Sick Schools
Public Service (Large Staff)

Entry Credit

  • Barbara Laker, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Wendy Ruderman, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Dylan Purcell, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Jessica Griffin, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Garland Potts, The Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Entry

This joint investigative project of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News reveals that the city’s public schools are incubators for illness, with environmental hazards that endanger students and hinder learning.

Comments From the Judges

“This investigation delivers the ultimate public service: shining a light on intolerable conditions and forcing authorities to do something about it. Along the way, this project employed unique reporting techniques of enlisting teachers to gather samples that ultimately tested out to show intolerable levels of lead, asbestos, and other harmful environmental contamination.”

“The reporters’ success in linking affected students to exposure brought home the impact of the neglect. The entire team should take pride in the changes that were called for in the wake of the reporting — it’s a testament to the level of documentation they were able to assemble and the care they took presenting it.”